UPDATE: The winner is…Mary Preston!
It wasn’t until recently I realized I was always a writer. I grew up as an only child in rural Indiana. I have always been curious, which fed my active imagination. It served me well as I was growing up, making otherwise mundane chores exciting.
I was writing stories before I fell in love with reading. That came much later. I had a stutter, so for years, I tied reading to the dreaded moments in class when we had to read aloud.
Then one day, my parents told me my pony was lonely. He was the only pony on a farm full of Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses (plus one wayward Donkey named Jethro). They thought it would be a good idea to read to him. So I did, and without the stress of a class full of people listening, the stutter mattered less.
I haven’t stopped reading since I fell in love with it. As I got older, especially in law school, when I didn’t have the time to read, I would collect books and spend my breaks devouring everything I could. Anytime my stress level was high or I struggled with something in everyday life, reading was an escape. Writing was cathartic.
I took a gap year between graduating college and going to law school. I continued to work in a legal department for corporate compliance and spent any downtime writing my first complete story as my dad continued to encourage me to publish. What he didn’t know is that I had been looking for an agent or publisher. I have a stack of rejections to prove it. I had always written for me. I had no idea what it meant to publish a book or if I should.
It became obvious in law school that the career I had always thought I wanted wasn’t going to make me happy. Remember that fear I had of reading aloud? Totally forgotten as I would be in class, writing the sequel to the story I had written the year before. Getting called on was an annoyance that interrupted my writing. Around this time, I got my first e-reader and started to read Indie authors. It was life-changing.
As I left law school, it was like diving into unknown waters and life threw me a few curveballs. I met my future husband during my final year of law school. Then my dad got sick. When he died, my muse went with him. Grief is fickle, at a time when I needed a story to get lost in, I couldn’t find the words to create one. I was raw, and reading helped me cope.
Very slowly, the muse returned. Almost cautiously, like she was unsure if I was ready. I attended my first book convention and standing in line, waiting to meet Penny Reid, it hit me full force that I wanted to be on the other side of the table. I went to two more book conventions that year and would self-publish my first book that fall.
When my muse came back, she was stronger and more resilient. The doubts and fears were gone. Suddenly, it didn’t seem so scary to share the worlds I create. Loss had created a new perspective, and I jumped in headfirst to the unknown.
August 8th will be the third anniversary of publishing my debut book, When You Were Mine. It took almost two years, but the sequel, Mine For Now, released this June. I have met so many amazing people along the way. I know that I still have a lot to learn, mistakes to make, books to write, incredible books to read, and readers to meet, and I’m looking forward to it all.
For a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card comment, let me know what you love about reading.